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Faces to look out for in the year ahead

Saad Hammad, CEO designate of Flybe Group. Picture: Tim Bishop

Saad Hammad, CEO designate of Flybe Group. Picture: Tim Bishop

Kristy Dorsey and Terry Murden pick the people who’ll be making the business headlines in 2014

1 Malcolm Robertson and Andrew Wilson; Co-founders, Charlotte Street Partners

The duo have enlisted two former seasoned journalists for their new PR firm and have the backing of investment banker Sir Angus Grossart as well as Roland Rudd and James Murgatroyd, two of the top PR operators in London. Expect them to hit the ground running with some key clients in what is the biggest PR launch in Scotland for some time.

2 Cally Russell; Technology entrepreneur

The tech whizz is behind what he calls the “personal shopper in your pocket”, an app that sends tailor-made suggestions direct to consumers. It is a big hit with the young and he has plans to expand overseas once he has raised second-round funding.

3 Rory Cullinan; Head, RBS Capital Resolution

He has been put in charge of the toxic assets that the Royal Bank of Scotland wants rid of. But apart from that, he will also kickstart the flotations of Citizens Bank in the US and the Williams & Glyn’s offshoot being created out of 314 branches that the bank was forced to sell.

4 James Withers; Chief executive, Scotland Food & Drink

Withers says Scottish produce will never get a better chance for exposure than next year when the eyes of the world will be focused on the various big events taking place, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. A former parliamentary adviser at NFU Scotland, he has set some big targets in what will be his busiest year.

5 Kyron Keogh and Grant Mitchell; Partners, Rox jewellery

Long-time friends and now business partners Kyron Keogh and Grant Mitchell have spent the past year consolidating their Rox jewellery stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle and have built valuable tie-ups with key brands such as Bregeut, Nardin and Hublot. They want to take Rox overseas in the second half of next year by selling the firm’s own creations in upmarket department stores and have recently appointed an in-house head of design.

6 Mary Barra; Chief executive, General Motors

Dubbed a “child of GM”, Barra becomes the car industry’s first female chief executive on 15 January. Her 33 years with the company have covered some of its most troubled times – she was put in charge of human resources after bankruptcy in 2009 in a largely successful bid to stop talented people from leaving. An engineer by training, she went on to sort out GM’s chaotic global development operations. Although once again profitable, GM faces intense competition in the US and challenges in other key regions such as China, where last week it recalled 1.5 million cars amid safety concerns.

7 Inga Beale; Chief executive, Lloyd’s of London

The incoming head of the world’s oldest insurance market has bags of experience to call upon as she takes up her new role at a crucial juncture for the historic City institution. Lloyd’s – a collection of more than 80 insurance and reinsurance syndicates specialising in complex risks – is facing mounting competition from rivals in emerging markets. Investment returns are also under pressure and were the main reason for a fall in profits during the first half of this year. Beale, the first women to head up Lloyd’s in 325 years, will also be in charge of a continuing modernisation drive started by her predecessor, Richard Ward.

8 Saad Hammad; Chief executive, Flybe

In August Hammad succeeded Jim French as chief executive of Flybe and didn’t take long to stamp his authority on the struggling airline whose three years as a public company has been punctuated by regular profit warnings. The former EasyJet executive axed 500 jobs, cut routes and reduced the number of aircraft it flies. Next year will determine if Hammad is on the right flight path.

9 Petra Wetzel; Founder, West Brewery

The brewery has become a firmly established hotspot on Glasgow Green and is on course to open a new facility in the coming year which will take annual production capacity from 300,000 to five million litres. Known as The Cooperage, the Port Dundas brewery will allow Bavaria-born Wetzel to meet rising demand for her signature St Mungo lager and other brews from clubs, bars and restaurants throughout the UK. The Cooperage was formerly owned by Diageo, which closed the facility in 2010.

10 Alistair Phillips-Davies; Chief executive, SSE

Taking over the top job at one of the energy companies is, depending on your point of view, either a plum post or a poisoned chalice. Phillips-Davies took over as chief executive of SSE from Ian Marchant, but dealing with the sector’s tarnished public image, based mainly around soaring fuel bills, is only one issue in the new man’s in-tray. The government needs to sort out Britain’s energy policy and Phillips-Davies will need to come out fighting on both fronts.

 

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